Australia’s aged care industry is set to address the pressing issue of financial sustainability through the development of a comprehensive White Paper and Aged Care taskforce. The paper will serve as a guide for the Albanese Government in formulating an optimal aged care funding model for the next few decades, taking into account the perspectives of older Australians, unions, finance providers, and academics.
Anika Wells, the Minister for Aged Care, addressed the National Press Club earlier today with a strong emphasis on alleviating Australians’ fears about the quality of care in later life. Wells underscored the need for improved dementia care, mentioning the introduction of new Aged Care Quality Standards and the development of a 10-year national dementia action plan.
Mention was also made of the recently updated Aged Care Reform Roadmap that will chart activities til July 2025…Read More.
The Aged and Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) recently organised the Financial Sustainability Summit at Old Parliament House, bringing together 50 experts from various sectors. These included aged care providers, unions, consumer groups, and public policy specialists, all seeking innovative ways to modernise aged care funding for future generations.
ACCPA has committed to drafting a White Paper that incorporates the input of summit participants and other stakeholders. This document will be presented to the Australian Government in the coming months, providing crucial guidance on how to bridge the gap between Australia’s current aged care system and those of comparable nations.
Tom Symondson, CEO of ACCPA, emphasised the need for an honest conversation about achieving a balanced aged care system. Currently, Australia spends approximately $34 billion per year on aged care, equivalent to 1.2% of GDP, which is only half the OECD average. Symondson posed the question of how Australia can ensure that older Australians receive the quality care they need and deserve while also addressing the increasing burden on the federal budget.
The White Paper will explore various aspects of aged care financing, including the role of taxpayers versus individual contributions. It will also examine workforce empowerment, fair wages, and motivation as essential factors for progress in the sector.
The Australian Government, which is currently reviewing funding arrangements for aged care, has acknowledged that the existing financing structure requires improvement, with the briefing notes provided ahead of today’s Press Club address reaffirming this. Mention was also made of the baby boomer generation and the urgent need to prepare for their arrival in aged care.
The White Paper will provide valuable insights into co-contributions by older Australians as part of the solution to ensure the sustainability of aged care services. However, the specific details, such as the allocation between care, daily services, and accommodation, will be subject to further debate and exploration in the forthcoming document.
Co-contributions from older Australians have been identified as potential source of funding for the aged care system. The Retirement Income Review Report of 2020 revealed that most people retain the bulk of their retirement wealth until they pass away, and Australians have been gifted nearly $1.4 trillion in inheritances over the past two decades.
Mr Symondson emphasised the urgency of addressing the financial demands on the aged care system as the ageing population grows. With fewer working-age individuals and an increasing number of people requiring care, the pressure on the sector will only intensify over the next 10-20 years. The White Paper aims to provide a roadmap for achieving a sustainable aged care system for everyone.